Click here to read reviewer Sandie Kirkland's take on Field Notes from a Hidden City.
Field Notes from a Hidden City offers a journal of contemplative observations during a year in city of Aberdeen, Scotland.
When author Esther Woolfson saves a bird from a mound of snow, she begins pondering life in the city and how all elements of the biological and ecological chain must find their way of dealing with nature within the city confines.
Glasgow-born Woolfson begins her journal entries towards the end of November and continues them for just shy of a year. Her bounty of observation on seemingly mundane aspects of life and nature with the city become interwoven with explanations of natural phenomenon such as winter solstice and eclipses. Another example includes how Woolfson’s entry about her messy bird feeder that attracted rats, leading to a detailed narrative regarding rats in the city. This meditation on rats in the city includes facts about their role in society as well as their contribution to medical science. No tiny creature or event is insignificant.
Spring writings welcomes a new season that highlights the importance of spiders and elicits philosophical ponderings and stories of interaction with spiders—both physical as well as literal. Woolfson reflects on the literary works that feature spiders; included among her examples: ‘Little Miss Muffet,’ E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and the 1912 book by R. A. Ellis, Spiderland.
Woolfson’s keen observation is showcased by a natural style of linking the events with one another so they meander effortlessly from one living creature to the next, one story to another next with a flow that encourages mindfulness and peace.
Field Notes from a Hidden City is real gem of a read that reveals the connections between creatures big and small within the city. Highly recommended.